The Allahabad High Court has ruled that liking an obscene post on social media is not a crime, but sharing or reposting such content is illegal. The court held that liking a post does not necessarily mean that the user endorses or agrees with the content of the post, but sharing or reposting a post is a more active form of engagement and is therefore more likely to be seen as an endorsement.
Prayagraj: The Allahabad High Court has ruled that liking an obscene post on social media is not a crime, but sharing or reposting such content is illegal. This decision is significant because it provides clarity on the extent to which users of social media platforms can be held liable for the content they interact with.
The court’s ruling is based on the principle that liking a post does not necessarily mean that the user endorses or agrees with the content of the post. It is possible that a user may like a post for a variety of reasons, such as to show support for a friend or family member or to start a conversation about the topic of the post. However, sharing or reposting a post is a more active form of engagement, and it is therefore more likely to be seen as an endorsement of the content, as per a report carried by news agency IANS.
What Does The Information Technology (IT) Act Say On This?
The court, in its ruling on Wednesday, explained that sharing such a post falls under the category of “transmission” as per Section 67 of the Information Technology (IT) Act, and will be subject to penalties.
Justice Arun Kumar Singh Deshwal made these remarks as he dismissed the ongoing criminal proceedings against Mohd Imran Kazi from Agra, who had been charged under Section 67 of the IT Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code for liking a post related to unlawful assembly.
“I do not find any material which could connect the applicant with any objectionable post, as there is no offensive post available in the Facebook and WhatsApp accounts of the applicant. Therefore, no case is made out against the applicant.”
Justice Deshwal clarified that while the IT Act considers transmitting obscene material as an offense, in this particular case, “the applicant has liked the post of one Farhan Usman for unlawful assembly, but liking a post will not amount to publishing or transmitting the post, therefore, merely liking a post will not attract section 67 IT Act”.
Court Highlights Provisions Of Section 67 Of IT Act
The court also highlighted that Section 67 of the IT Act pertains to obscene material and not provocative material.
Kazmi, faced a criminal case for liking “provocative” messages on social media, which resulted in the assembly of about 600-700 individuals from the Muslim community for a procession conducted without permission. The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) in Agra took note of the charge sheet and issued a nonbailable warrant against him on June 30.